Are you one of the many Americans who have been unemployed for an extended period of time? Are you finding it difficult dealing with your employment gap during job interviews? Yes, explaining a gap can be tricky, but there’s a way to do explain gracefully. The next time you are in an interview, do these three things while explaining your employment gap to help smooth it over:

Focus on Opportunity, Not the Paycheck

One of the possible reasons why you may have been unemployed for an extended period of time is because you are looking for a career with growth. If this is the case, show enthusiasm for rejoining the work force not because you are money-driven and just looking for a big paycheck, but because you are looking for a long-term opportunity. This shows you are focused on your career path and determined to be successful.

Mention Ways You’ve Stayed Busy During Unemployment

You mostly likely have not spent 12 hours a day, seven days a week job searching – it’s too physically and emotionally draining. You’ve probably kept yourself busy during your unemployment doing other things. Have you volunteered for a cause? Mention that during an interview. Have you joined a professional organization? Tell your interviewer how it’s broadened your knowledge about your industry. Discuss new skills you have learned during your unemployment and how they will help you do the job better than other candidates. Your hiring manager will want to see that you stayed active, rather than becoming a couch potato.

Tell the Truth 

Just like your parents told you, honesty really is the best policy! If you lie about your employment gap, there’s a good chance your hiring manager will find out when verifying your work history. When he/she finds out you lied, your application will most likely get thrown out. So do yourself a favor and be completely honest with your hiring manager.

Going into a job interview with an employment gap on your resume does not have to be a big deal; it’s all about how you approach it! Consider these three tips the next time you interview to help put your employment history into the best light.